Here comes everybody.

The numbers for the solo population are uncertain. The 53 million census includes part-timers, moonlighters, and independents-in-transition; no one knows how many full-time soloists there are. Economists agree only that this migration away from jobs — out of organizations into work we make for ourselves — is speeding up. Big forces keep driving it:

 

  • Evolving technology and tools increasingly enable high-impact work to be done anywhere, with anyone.
     
  • Corporations continue losing scale; four decades of layoffs (plus one “jobless recovery”) have turned what once was a relationship between company and individual into a transaction.
     
  • More and more of the work of the economy is project work, creating unprecedented opportunities for specialized talent.
 

[Photograph by Wesley Verhoeve]